How to identify your true goals

Many of the people I meet are convinced that Life Coaching is only about achieving goals on a superficial level, but I beg to differ. While it is true that some coaches are obsessed with goals, better performance and achievement in the material or corporate world, I am more interested in what we as individuals are trying to achieve and, most importantly, how it makes us feel.

Does this goal that you are sweating to achieve come from your heart? Is it in accordance with your core values? Does it reflect your talent, calling or passion? Will it bring you that all-important happiness and fulfilment you yearn for? Will it help you grow – spiritually and emotionally as well as materially?

If not, has it occurred to you that you might be wasting your time? Or that you might actually end up hurting yourself if you do achieve your goal? This happened to me many years ago, which is why I realised you must be very careful what you ask for in every detail, for that is exactly what will be given. Think about it. Anybody can achieve goals, but much more tricky is identifying the right goals to achieve.

I use as a barometer the concept of meaning and purpose. When considering your goal ask yourself, “if I achieve this, will it feel like my life has meaning and purpose?” If the answer is yes or probably, then you know you’re on the right track. But if the answer is no or probably not, then drop that goal like a hot potato and move on to something that comes from your heart.

Sadly, many of us have completely lost touch with what’s going on inside. It is quite common for a new client to tell me, “I have no passion,” or “I have no talent,” or “I have no calling.” I once had a woman tell me, “I’m not good at anything,” and then she reeled off a list of all the things she’d done last week, mostly domestic chores, all of which were successful and earned her a lot of praise and appreciation from the people around her. She simply did not register these jobs as anything she was good at because they seemed “too easy.”

It was obvious she believed that domestic chores are of little value or merit, for she didn’t seem to notice the praise and appreciation. If she noticed them, she certainly didn’t let them in. Sadly, that can only be because she held herself to be of little value. This is, of course, complete nonsense, for your calling need not necessarily be anything lofty, complicated, cerebral or sophisticated. I realised we had a lot of work ahead of us…

Hey, who said that life has to be a struggle? I simply don’t believe it. And when someone tells me they don’t know what they want to do I don’t believe that either. A person might not be aware that they know what they want to do, or they might not believe they can do it, or it might be too scary to even contemplate or admit to, but you inner voice, the voice of your heart, always knows…

Helping you find the courage and develop the awareness to listen to it, and follow its guidance without hesitation, that’s my kind of coaching.

A very steep learning curve

If you really want a brilliant role model to teach you how to live your life, get a dog.

Some time ago my partner suggested to me we should get a dog. We had met at an age at which we were beyond having children together, and in any case we had a grown up son each and neither of us wanted to go back to square one on the baby stakes. But to get a dog? That would mean taking responsibility once again for another living being just when we had both finally won our independence and freedom. So I asked her, “can you give me one good reason why we should get a dog?”

She replied simply, “because you get a lot of joy from a dog”.

I couldn’t really argue with that and anyway I kind of liked the idea, so to cut a long story short we soon found ourselves living with a two month old golden Labrador puppy of the female gender whom we called Chutzpa (meaning cheek or audaciousness). That’s when I found myself, for the umpteenth time in my life, at the beginning of a very steep learning curve.

There are many stories I could tell, but the point of all this is that every day that Chutzpa was alive I got a new lesson about living in the moment and unconditional love. Now we have another Labrador, Dafka (which means someone who is totally contrary) and like Chutzpa, she never holds grudges for longer than 30 seconds, even if her feelings are hurt. She spends much of her day sleeping (a very laudable idea I reckon) but as soon as she realises it’s time for a walk she’s up and alert in the twinkling of an eye. She can’t wait to get to the park or the woods to find the muddiest puddles to explore, and she will chase and retrieve a ball until she drops from exhaustion.

Maniana is unknown to her. And as long as there is no food around, she loves being stroked and having her tummy tickled. Sometimes when I hear someone say, “it’s a dog’s life” I think to myself, “I wish…”

Yes, although they are two totally different characters, observing the way the two dogs conduct themselves and their lives is a daily object lesson in living in the moment. And you know what? It’s kind of really refreshing…

Why live more consciously?

For seven or eight years I have been hitting the inboxes of a list of people with Namaste, my free monthly e-newsletter for people who want to live more consciously. Now I’ve decided to turn that newsletter into a blog, this blog, so it will be freely available to anyone who wants to read it.

We live at a frenetic pace nowadays, and if we are not careful we lose touch with who we are. There’s no time to stop and take a look at what we’re doing or why – unless we make time. Living more consciously simply means noticing what’s going on in your life and what you do so you can make choices, rather than reacting in a knee jerk fashion.

This requires courage and vision, and a determination not to compromise.

I’m not talking about refusing to compromise with your partner on whether to have an Indian or a Chinese meal this evening. What I’m getting at is driving your life in the direction you want to go in, rather than following the advice of others just because it seems like a good idea, or doing something in the hope that it might give you more security.

You are the only person who knows what’s right for you, so your intuition, based on observing your own inner workings, your vision, your dreams, your gut feeling, is the only reliable guide on which to base life-changing decisions.

Hence my mantra, do what you love, love what you do.

If you do what you love, in other words what you are passionate about and what comes easily to you, you are far more likely to fulfil your life’s purpose. But first you have to notice what it is you love. That requires conscious awareness.

I hope the posts that will soon follow will help you to feel encouraged to find your own unique path in life and start doing what you love.